As you may have noticed, Aubrey de Grey and Dave Gobel's M Prize for anti-aging research has topped $1,000,000 in pledges. The first of many more millions, we all hope! Jay Fox has a write-up and comments over at Longevity First:
The Million Dollar barrier has an almost magical quality. Half a million, two million, five million, these are all just allusions to the Million Dollar mark, the barrier that really matters in people's minds.
Breaking that barrier was once again done in an exciting fashion. Many of the donors who have pledged $25,000 to the M Prize, present author included, are just ordinary people with ordinary incomes. Some are students, still in college, with all sorts of bills to pay, but they still see this cause as worth the sacrifice of $85 a month.
But the Million Dollar barrier wasn't broken by one of us, it was broken by the "Father of Regenerative Medicine", "Dr. William Haseltine, biotech pioneer of Human Genome Sciences fame".
So what's all the excitement about, anyway? Okay, so it's fascinating how the prize is growing, and the big names that it has attracted. The M Prize is an effort to raise awareness about anti-aging research. Research prizes have a long and successful history of inspiring breakthroughs in science and engineering. The M Prize seeks to build on that history, by offering a financial and fame incentive to scientists to try to engineer extremely long-lived mice.
Mice are mammals, and genetically speaking, there are much more similar to humans than you might suspect by looking at them. Mice have been used as models for studying almost every major disease, from diabetes to heart disease to stroke to Alzheimer's to cancer. They age much like humans, and thus they offer a nearly ideal model for studying aging. They only live about three years, so it shouldn't take longer than five years to know if a therapy is highly successful. In humans, true trials of anti-aging therapies would take several decades at the least.
The million dollar mark coupled with William Haseltine coming aboard as a member of The Three Hundred is definitely a high note - but we must not forget those everyday folk like you and I who joined forces to make this ongoing success possible. The M Prize has already done a great deal to raise awareness of the near future possibilities of healthy life extension, as well as the need for more research dollars for directed, serious anti-aging research. I hope to see much more of that in the future as the prize fund continues to grow.
Have your say! Put in a few dollars to tell scientists and funding organizations that you want to see radical human life extension in your life time.